Buying a used desktop computer is a great way to save money. If you’re after a cheap computer, but still want a quality PC, then buying second hand could be the way to go. As desktop PC users upgrade, they will usually sell off their old equipment, and this means there is plenty of choice for buyers not wanting to spend too much on a brand new desktop computer.
Although you're looking for a second hand PC, don’t buy too old, unless of course you are buying a computer to add to a vintage collection! Try to find a second hand computer that is no more than 3 years old. Any out of the box desktop older than this is likely to be slow and will be, or will very quickly become incompatible with modern software.
The exception to this is if you are buying a second hand computer tower and you are willing to upgrade the system with new components. However, this will require some detailed knowledge of the inner workings of a PC, so if you are looking for a PC that works well as it comes, stick to the 3 year rule.
Ideally you want to buy your used PC from somewhere local. Not only will this save you delivery costs, it will also allow you to see the desktop in operation, and have a play with it before you commit to buying it.
What to look for in a second hand PC
A great tip is to decide on the desktop computer you would buy brand new, and then find an older version of that model for sale second hand. That way you can compare the new and used computer side by side, and work out which features you are happy to live without. It’s always advisable to buy used computers from well know brands like HP or Dell, particularly if you are not computer savvy. There are far more forums and online help available for the models these bigger brands produce as a result of the number of customers they have.
RAM and processing power: How much RAM and power is wholly dependant on what you plan to use the PC for. If you are going to be doing heavy gaming with your computer, you are going need a much higher spec than if you just plan on using the PC for writing only, or just browsing the net.
Ports: Have a think about the ports that you regularly use, or will use in your used PC. This could be USB, HDMI, DVI and more. Ensure any PC you buy includes ports you might use with any equipment you currently own, or are likely to buy in the future.
Physical Condition: Avoid buying used desktops that have dents or scratches, and those which have an excessive amount of dirt and dust. These things all indicate a PC which has not been well cared for and is therefore more likely to have issues.
Buying a used PC for parts
Second hand desktops are ideal if you are planning on building your own PC or computer tower. PCs can be broken down into their smaller components and used in a new PC and any computer parts which you don’t need can be resold online.